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Christy Catherine Marshall

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February 23, 2006

Imagine this. It’s 4 am, and you’re sound asleep. Or you’re sitting in the quiet darkness of your home feeding your baby. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, ten people have just bought a product from you, for $20 each. Now, that extra $200 will go into your bank account to help you pay bills this month. And you didn’t have to do a thing.

That’s the beauty of e-books, which is a topic that’s fascinated me lately. I know so little about them, yet I’m curious. So, I decided to track down an e-book expert who also happens to be a fellow blogger and a mom of teenagers.

Alyice Edrich

Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books, including Tid-Bits for Making Money With E-Books. She’s the founder of The Dabbling Mum, an online resource for parents and small business owners. Alyice enjoys teaching parents how to earn hundreds of dollars by selling information they already possess.

Hi, Alyice. Thanks for stopping in today. Can you tell us a little about e-books?

E-books are electronic, downloadable books. Many are written on very narrow topics, topics traditional publishers wouldn’t print because they tend to prefer marketing to larger audiences.

So far, e-books aren’t as popular as print books because people are still learning about them and getting used to the idea of paying for something they have to first download and print out using their own resources. Some buyers consider this double payment: payment to read material and payment to print out.

What kind of people buy e-books? Is there really a market for them?

Most e-book buyers are people who spend a lot of time online. They are used to the whole “instant access” mentality and look forward to reading e-books that are up-to-date and can be read within minutes of ordering.

Moms who stay at home or work from home also tend to buy e-books over print books because they can research, order, and read while their children are sleeping, which means one less outing.

Oh yes. I know all about the difficulty of getting out shopping with kids. Especially in a quiet bookstore! Can you tell us more about e-book topics? How do you know if you’re really an expert on a topic?

I always tell people to think first about things that their friends and family members constantly come to them asking advice for. That’s always a great place to start because that means you’re passionate about that topic and have often researched for the simple pleasure of knowing more or to help improve your current circumstances.

Most moms think, “I’m a parent and I read lots of stuff to improve my parenting skills, so I’ll start a website or write a book on parenting” or they think, “I really want to stay home and start a home business. I’ve researched a lot of information and am pretty knowledgeable so I’ll start a website geared towards helping other parents stay home or work from home.” While those are great topics, they have actually been done to death and will make it very difficult for new businesses and books to stand out from the crowd. This means that in order to become successful with these topics, these moms would have to work double (and sometimes triple) time just to break even.

Wow. I hadn’t thought about that. What are some ideas you’d recommend for moms interested in writing an e-book?

I encourage moms to stay away from overdone themes and instead find something that is narrower, that they can really call their own. It’s important, when trying to make a living from home, to find an area that is lacking and then fill that area.

Let’s say that you did read a lot about working from home and you consider yourself pretty knowledgeable so you decide to start a work-from-home website to teach others what you know. What you’re doing is actually reiterating what you learned. You have no hands-on experience because you haven’t yet started a business and seen it to success.

Can you give us an example of something that would be better?

Instead of starting yet another, work-at-home (WAHM) website, I would encourage you to think outside the box.

For starters, what do you do for fun? What is the one hobby that you simply cannot get enough of? What is the one thing that your husband says to you, “Why do you have to constantly spend my hard-earned money on that? I sure wish you could make some money off that instead of always spending our money!”

Once you’ve figured that out, sit down and jot down what you know about the subject. Then get online and see what others have written about it. Are there a lot of copycats out there? If so, there is plenty of room for you to be unique and offer something far more valuable. Look around and see what’s missing. What can you offer that others are not providing?

That’s the business you want to start. And that’s the e-book you want to write. Don’t just write an e-book on a specific subject; build a business around that e-book and you’ll open up a floodgate of opportunities.

These are some great ideas, Alyice. I feel like we’re just getting started! But we’ve run out of time today, so I hope you’ll be able to come back tomorrow and tell us more about making money while we sleep!

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OK, Mom 2 Mom readers, are your e-book gears spinning? Alyice has given us a start, but tomorrow she’ll be back to tell us more about researching, writing, and marketing our e-books. I for one have a few ideas simmering, but I’d like more details — wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, Alyice invites you to look at an article she wrote on this topic, as well as visit her at The Dabbling Mum Press.




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